Thursday, October 30, 2008
San Diego Unified school officials say there's a problem in the way they're handling complaints in the district. Some people are concerned they're not being responsive enough. But the district wants to change that. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.
Many parents and employees in San Diego Unified say they've had to work too hard to get their complaints heard in the district.
A push to make schools more 'family friendly' two years ago made things easier…. but school board member Shiela Jackson says the problem still exists.
Jackson: A parent had to go through the internet, find my number, call me at home, and she talked for an hour and four minutes because she felt she could not get her concerns addressed through the proper channels. And they shouldn't work that hard.
A report released this week shows district officials responded to roughly 700 complaints over the past several months. The complaints range from overtime pay abuse to embezzlement. The report concludes things were handled well.
But school board member John de Beck wants more details. He says district officials need explain the nature of each complaint...and how the issues were resolved.
De Beck: This is not about, ‘Did you handle the volume of complaints?’ This is about, ‘What is the quality of the services that you provided to the people who have enough courage to ask the question?’
Dealing with complaints is not the only problem the district is trying to tackle. School officials are also trying to make sure personal information -- such as student records -- remains confidential. The report didn't find any violations, but union leader France Fiero says that' not the case. She says parent volunteers in school offices have access to too much information.
Fiero: I work in the schools. I hear from the members who are working in the schools. And breach of confidentiality, we have.
A more comprehensive audit about security breaches is expected soon.
In the meantime, Superintendent Terry Grier says the district will continue working on both problems. He believes the initial report is a step in the right direction.
Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.